We’ve played with pictures of food to learn the vocabulary and made a huge salad for the class to share. We’ve studied Canada’s Guide alimentaire and planned meals based on it.
We move on to menus. When I think they’re ready I give the students menus I’ve picked up (not stolen) from restaurants I’ve been to in France and Quebec. We learn how to order and not to order brain or raw meat and to understand pricing. Then the students work in groups using the authentic documents as models to create their own menus.
We practice restaurant etiquette. My goal always is to have the students able to function in a French speaking environment should the need ever arise.
I then take the students to the staffroom where I’ve arranged the tables to resemble a café setting. One student is Maître d’, others are placed at each table to be waiters. The remainder of the students are organized in groups coming in to eat. Two students serve as evaluators with criteria for success decided by the class beforehand.
“Bonsoir,” says the Maitre d’. “Vous êtes combien?”
“Quatre,” replies a member of the first group.
“Vous avez une réservation?”
“Heuresement, il y a une table libre. Suivez-moi.” The Maitre d’ leads them to a table where the assigned waiter offers them copies of the menus that the groups prepared.
I watch with pride as the waiters offer menu suggestions, as the diners study the menus, ask about prices, and place their orders. I hear an occasional word in English. That’s okay, I think. That’s real life.
Suddenly a member of one group studying their menus, stands, slaps his menu on the table and says, “Mais, c’est beaucoup trop cher.” The diners with him stand and they all storm out of the restaurant.
I can’t contain my laughter or pride. Mission accomplished. Top marks to this group, no question.
Mais, c’est beaucoup trop cher. = But, this is way too expensive.